Bad Dog

By John Grey

 

Dog’s snapping at my heels.

Junkyard dog, I’d reckon.

Unloved judging by its mangy coat,

ribs poking through.

Surprised the animal cops

haven’t picked this mutt up long before.

Maybe they just couldn’t catch it.

It shows two rows of sharp teeth.

It snarls.

I launch a foot at it

but it just comes back for more.

It won’t be happy until

it’s taken a piece out of me.

If you’re looking for where

the pain strikes next,

it’s not the poem,

nor the words on the cell phone,

not something I’ve read

in a newspaper.

It’s right here,

a brute who’d rather go

for my throat

but figures a leg will do.

He gets a bite in.

I manage a kick to his guts.

He runs off.

The hurt is the same

on both sides.

A tetanus shot

and I’m one scar from new.

A yelp to his pride

and he’s back defending

rusty metal and rats.

That when I write,

I call you,

a tsunami strikes.

The inner anguish,

the outer attack,

the effect on all of us…

there are no shots for these.

Just rusty metal to guard.

And, of course, rats.

 

John Grey is an Australian poet and a U.S. resident. He was recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review and has work forthcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.  

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